CASA of Central Texas is aiming to train and swear in 100 total volunteer advocates by the end of 2020.
CASA is calling for community members to step up and advocate for children and families involved in the child welfare system in our local area.
“Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing, many of us have been feeling increased stress, anxiety and isolation. Children involved in the foster care system are no exception,” said Norma Blackwell, Executive Director of CASA of Central Texas. “While we can’t physically be by their side right now, we still want the children who is in foster care right here in our community to know they have an advocate on their side. With so much uncertainty in the world, we want to help give these kids peace of mind, stability and connection. We want them to feel safety and comfort.”
CASA volunteers or Court Appointed Special Advocates, advocate for a child or sibling group while they are in foster care. CASA volunteers advocate in the courtroom, school and other settings for the best interest of the child they are representing, help them stay connected with their families and communities and work towards family reunification whenever safe and possible.
Now is a great time to get involved with CASA, according to Blackwell. “With info sessions, pre-service volunteer training, and court hearings currently conducted online, you can make a difference in the lives of children and families in the foster care system—right from your own home.”
“COVID-19 has changed how we conduct our advocacy work, but it has not changed our drive and passion to serve the children and families of this community,” said Blackwell. “We are taking precautions with how we conduct our trainings, visits with children and families, volunteer supervision and events to ensure the safety of all involved.”
As a part of their new operating procedures, CASA offices are closed to the public, and all communication is done by computer, phone, or teleconferencing. Training for new volunteers is conducted online, and volunteers are maintaining communication with children on their cases according to local and state regulations.
“We are here to serve the children and families of Central Texas. We want to do that as safely as possible for the sake of those we serve, our staff, our volunteers and the greater public,” said Blackwell. “We never want a child in foster care to go without a CASA volunteer, especially now. That’s why we need our community to stand up and join us in our advocacy.”
If residents would like to find out more about becoming a CASA volunteer or other ways to get involved, visit http://www.casacentex.org, or find them on social media @casacentex.